Dear Neighbour,

My name is Glen.

I’ve been coming to community meals at The Local for quite a while now. Folks come to meals and programs here for a variety of reasons including, for many, the need for a nutritious meal. But what’s important is that everyone is welcome. For me and many of my friends who are seniors, I continue to come because I enjoy the company of the staff, the volunteers, and other community members. I’m always smiling here, talking to people, walking around to the other tables and I enjoy that.

Judging from the laughs that we share, I’m pretty certain that the people that I meet in The Local’s dining room enjoy that, too!

Recently, I was enjoying lunch and coffee with some of my friends on a Friday morning just like any other, when I heard that our Member of Parliament, John Nater was planning to come to the dining room to meet with some of our community members who have disabilities and depend on social assistance programs like the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to provide them with the basics of life like food and shelter. I, myself, have been on ODSP so I know what it’s like to struggle on an insufficient income. I honestly don’t know how I made it through.

I decided to join the meeting. Just 3 days later, we watched MP Nater during our Monday night dinner speak about that meeting in the House of Commons in support of an effort to create a new income support for Canadians with disabilities who desperately need it. I was even mentioned by name and he talked about how The Local provided a dignified space for folks like me to share a meal together, access affordable food in the market, learn kitchen and gardening skills, but also to advocate for meaningful policy change. I now know without any doubt that I can speak up, be heard, and together with my neighbours, make a real change for the better.

The need for The Local’s services has increased by 200% since the start of the pandemic. Today, I’m writing to ask you to please make an urgent donation this holiday season or, better yet, join our monthly donor program, Neighbours for Change! Your gift will help more of our friends and neighbours cook, grow, share, and advocate for our right to quality food.

With sincere thanks